The half a billion dollar man Patrick Mahomes entered his fourth NFL season on Thursday night with a lethal passing attack consisting of deep threat receivers Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, and Travis Kelce. What many, including the Houston Texans, did not expect was a potent run game led by 2020 first round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
The former LSU RB had 25 carries for 138 yards with 1 TD. In total, the Chiefs ran the ball 34 times for 166 yards. You would have to go back to the 2018-19 Divisional Round game against the Indianapolis Colts to find the last time that the Chiefs ran the ball 30+ times in a game.
Against Indy, the Colts ran the ball 33 times for 180 yards. Damien Williams led the way for the Chiefs in that game with 25 carries for 129 yards and 1 TD. Fast forward to 2020 and the Chiefs are without Damien Williams after he decided to opt out with the current state of Covid-19 in the US. It seems like Kansas City has a suitable replacement in Clyde Edwards-Helaire, however.
With roughly 15k fans in attendance at Arrowhead Stadium, the Chiefs won in dominant fashion by a score of 34-20. Houston did score 2 TDs in the fourth quarter which made the game appear a lot closer than it actually was.
The crazy part about this game is that Patrick Mahomes had a quiet game for his standards and the Chiefs still won without breaking a sweat. The reigning Super Bowl MVP only threw for 211 yards, but he did have a 75% completion percentage with 3 TDs.
Kansas City’s defense also looked very formidable. Recently paid DT Chris Jones amassed 1.5 sacks and 4 total tackles with edge threat Frank Clark picking up a sack of his own. 4th round pick L’Jarius Sneed even had an interception in his NFL debut. The Chiefs showed they are not a one trick pony on Thursday night as they have a very capable defense to complement possibly the best offense in the league.
There are some positive takeaways for the Texans. Newly acquired David Johnson had 11 carries for 77 yards, which included a 19-yard TD run for the first score of the game. While I still think the Texans are fools for giving up DeAndre Hopkins, David Johnson does look promising and should see more carries in the coming weeks. Will Fuller V also stepped up as Houston’s new #1 receiver with 8 catches for 112 yards. It will be interesting to see how Fuller does against better CBs, but the potential is there.
The Kansas City Chiefs look ready to repeat as Super Bowl champs, while the Houston Texans looked like they should qualify for a playoff berth in the new 7 team postseason format.